After a decade, the new Taipa Ferry Terminal will be put into service on the first day of next month, the Director of the Marine and Water Bureau, Wong Soi Man, announced yesterday during the opening ceremony.
Compared to the initial plan in 2005, the size of the infrastructure has expanded fourfold to 200,000 square metres from 50,000 square metres, supports 16 docking berths, three multi-functional berths and 127 border crossing channels.
The launch in June will put only eight berths into service.
The temporary ferry terminal will be permanently closed on the same day the new ferry terminal is launched.
The site of the temporary ferry terminal will be used for the third phase construction of the new ferry terminal.
Given the substantial expansion of the terminal’s size, infrastructure cost has been driven up 5.5 times to MOP3.8 billion (US$474 million) compared to the initial budget of MOP583 million some ten years ago.
Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo Arrais do Rosário responded to reporters’ enquiries on the sidelines of yesterday’s opening ceremony that the overblown expenses were reasonable.
“I don’t think it’s overblown; it’s a huge development of 200,000 square metres plus exterior works,” said Rosário. “It is six times larger than the initial one […] because the initial project had 8 berths, and this one has 16 berths.”
The Secretary also said that the project started small but suffered several alterations and addition of parts, adding that “now it’s larger than the [Macau International] Airport”.
With other infrastructure such as the Zhuhai-Hong Kong-Macau Bridge to be launched in 2019, some expressed concern that the new project might be underused.
“We are expecting that the travellers now using the temporary terminal next door will move here for the short term,” said the Secretary, expressing confidence that more travellers will be attracted when more supporting facilities are ready in later stages.
Director Wong perceived that package tours would prefer to use the new ferry terminal given the expanded space and the provision of convenience for tourists who aim to shop in Cotai.
Place to shop, eat
The DSAMA Director, meanwhile, said it will take one to two months after the official launch in June for the company to commerce management and operation of the commercial area in the ferry terminal.
The MSAR Government contracted CSI Group Ltd. as the management and operational company of the new infrastructure in April.
Director Wong affirmed that drink machines will be stationed for the time being, while restaurants and shops will gradually be established but without confirming any timetable.
Meanwhile, the Director cited the Infrastructure Development Office as saying that the third phase construction is estimated to take one to two years to complete.
Rosário: Will definitely follow CCAC guidelines re. housing practice
Speaking on the sidelines of yesterday’s opening ceremony of the new Taipa Ferry Terminal, Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo Arrais do Rosário stressed that the government will definitely follow CCAC guidelines in handling the issues of the economic housing practices.
The Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) slammed the Housing Bureau on Wednesday, saying the February release contradicts previous practices on attribution of economic housing for couples married during the waiting period.
The Secretary, meanwhile, also affirmed the plan to revise the economic housing law, although he was unable to share a solid timetable of the procedures.